West Lothian Council will spend over £154 million over the next five years improving and increasing its council housing stock.

Approved at a meeting of the local authority on February 13, the investment will see over £79m spent on increasing the housing supply over the course of the next five years.

This includes the completion of the current new build programme of 1,000 houses in addition to a commitment to construct a further 250 new council homes.

A further 90 Open Market Acquisitions will be incorporated into the programme, as the council continues  to look at expanding the housing supply and  achieve a target of delivering 3000 new houses during  the period 2012-2022.

West Lothian Council said the new build project will help tackle the high demand for affordable housing in the region and bring a number of benefits to the community such as training and employment opportunities for apprentices, local people and businesses.

The capital programme for housing will also invest over £75m to improve the existing stock. Projects will include investment in energy efficiency measures and replacement of central heating systems to help reduce fuel poverty. These works are part of planned maintenance programmes that also include electrical testing and repairs along with painting fencing work.

Planned work will continue on environmental programmes and external upgrading projects, including tenant led street improvements projects.

Major refurbishments include the completion of regeneration work at the Bathville flats in Armadale as well as the continuation of roof, render, stair and balcony works at the Lochs Scheme in Whitburn.

There will be enhanced investment in external wall insulation work in council houses and a programme of central heating upgrades will take place to ensure all properties are compliant with Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) standards by December 2020.

A rent increase of 3% per annum for council homes and garages has also been approved by West Lothian Council. This follows on from a recent consultation with tenants which indicated that the majority of responses from tenants supported a 3% rent increase per annum.

Executive councillor for services for the community, George Paul, said: “West Lothian Council is committed to providing new, affordable, high quality council homes in West Lothian.

“A significant amount of investment is going towards the completion of 1,000 new council homes across all ward areas as part of our existing, new build programme with a new commitment to deliver a further 250 homes in the years ahead.”

“As well as providing new council homes, there will be a renewed focus on the maintenance and refurbishment of properties, to continue to maintain the Scottish Quality Housing Standard.

“Our recent Tenants Satisfaction survey results highlighted that the vast majority of our housing tenants are happy with the services we provide and we will continue to strive to further improve the housing services that we provide for customers.”